What is the 3-Foul Rule?

The 3-foul rule in pool is a regulation that comes into play when a player commits three consecutive fouls during a game. The rule is designed to penalize overly defensive play and encourage continuous, offensive gameplay.

How the 3-Foul Rule Works

In games like 9-ball and 10-ball, if a player commits three consecutive fouls, they automatically lose the game. A foul occurs when a player either fails to hit any ball, hits the wrong ball first, or causes the cue ball or an object ball to leave the table. The referee or opponent must notify the player when they are on their second foul to ensure they are aware of the risk.

Strategies to Avoid the 3-Foul Rule

Players should be aware of their foul count and adopt more cautious play when they have already committed two fouls. Strategic shot selection and defensive play can help avoid the third foul.


Understanding the 3-foul rule is crucial for competitive play, as it can significantly impact the outcome of a game and force players to think strategically.